She would not tell him today.

Elizabeth closed her eyes and sucked a lungful of the crisp mountain air, but a pang of vertigo soon overwhelmed her. She braced against a large limestone boulder behind her then slouched over, allowing her brain to readjust to the tangle of mental signals.

She would not tell him today.

Elizabeth couldn’t make sense of this grand scheme, this so-called “I” Project. Only now did she realize the damage this entire adventure had cost; but no injury was as great as the one Landon endured.

His wound was not bloody or messy, nor did it cripple or slow him.  The damage Landon sustained could be irreversible, and Elizabeth knew this. Somehow, the seemingly innocent escapade distorted Landon’s mind beyond recollection.  Every false miniscule detail, and spat of wrong information, the drugs, and blackouts had all reformed his past, present, and future.

The “I” Project had, in essence, taken Landon’s life, but she would not tell him this today.

Once again Elizabeth felt her stomach knot, and she back-pedalled to lean against the great boulder. Many musings and stressful thoughts about the act had churned dramatically in her mind, so much that she barely noticed Landon returning from his outing.

He arrived on horseback with a leather backpack that no doubt contained scavenged supplies. Elizabeth straightened, disallowing herself regard to her persistent light-headedness, and quickly assumed the role of Anna. “I was worried.”

Landon dismounted the horse effortlessly, and tied the reigns securely to a tree.  He ignored his wife, returning her concern with silence.

Elizabeth cleared her throat and restated louder, “I was worried.”

Landon handed her a bottle of water, a sleeve of crackers, and a Snickers chocolate bar. “Eat these.”

“Ollie,” Anna chuckled lightly, and faintly nervously. “You were gone for a long time.”

“I was thinking,” answered Landon straightforwardly. There was a hint of dryness in his tone, and he busied himself with other tasks around their shoddy campsite, “There’s something in the pack that belongs to you.”

Uneasily, Elizabeth walked to the backpack and rummaged through it. She pulled free a tangle of socks, a jacket, more chocolate bars, but nothing that could possibly cause Landon’s unexpected bout of irritation.

“No,” Landon grumbled, “In the side pouch.”

Carefully, Elizabeth unzipped the side pouch and grabbed at the object instigating Landon’s frustration. She gasped sharply at the realization; she held in her palm a cellphone containing voice message recordings, text instructions, and other documentations between herself and the Project.

The cellphone display flashed a tiny icon, and Elizabeth pressed a button on the side of the phone blankly. The speakerphone option was already on, not surprisingly, and Elizabeth and Landon could both hear the voice message together:

Do everything in your power to get Landon back to the headquarters. He is not finished with this … adventure yet, and we don’t need him remembering who he was before he came to us, because that could be bad!”

The End

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